Pert Near Sandstone @ Denver - Concert Review - OurVinyl

Pert Near Sandstone @ Denver – Concert Review


Four dudes, four stringed instruments, one microphone and an old timey bluegrass sound. That’s a good way to describe Minneapolis-based Pert Near Sandstone to anyone who has never heard or heard of this group. Comprised of Nate Sipe on mandolin and fiddle, Kevin Kniebel on banjo, J Lenz on acoustic guitar, Adam Kiesling on upright bass and Andy Lambert on clogs and washboard Pert Near Sandstone brings an up-tempo, foot (or clog) stomping energy that has propelled  Pert Near Sandstone this group to an ever rising level of notoriety. Praised and hand-picked by Garrison Keeler for multiple appearances on A Prarie Home Companion and also lauded by fellow Minnesota pickers Trampled By Turtles, Pert Near Sandstone is a gem of Americana infused bluegrass to see live.

On a blistery cold Saturday night in Denver, the Bluebird Theater and its’ modest 550 seating capacity, was a warm respite from the elements outside. While the warmth of the Bluebird Theater was a nice contrast to the cold night outside, Pert Near Sandstone certainly turned up the heat even more, as they poured into their opener “Ship of Fools”, an original (not the Grateful Dead cover), and a fast paced, hearty slice of old timey mountain music.

From here the band moved through two sets of contemporary bluegrass rooted in Bill Monroe-Flatt & Scruggs traditional arrangements, with each member taking turns singing into the lone microphone on stage. There is something unbelievably American about seeing four string instruments being played as each musician takes their time leaning into the microphone to add vocals. To quote Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, “that’s some mighty fine pickin’ and a sangin”!”. Truly, Pert Near Sandstone delivers on that accord.

Pert Near Sandstone’s “Solid Gone”

Pert Near Sandstone liveThe beauty of traditional bluegrass cannot be understated when referring to Pert Near Sandstone. This band puts a very modern spin on very old music and does it with the same vivacious and fresh nature as such acts as Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled By Turtles and Hot Buttered Rum. Even if you don’t really enjoy bluegrass music, Pert Near Sandstone will still draw your appreciation.

The term “pert near” is a colloquial slang phrase meaning “close to”. If Pert Near Sandstone if close to anything, it’s that of a Saturday night in Lynch, Kentucky or a raging honky tonk outside the limits of any dry county in the south. Pert Near Sandstone doesn’t just take you back to this era, they drive you there at 97 miles an hour. Your heart will pound, you toe and heel will tap and a big ole shit eating grin will appear across your face. Each song Pert Near Sandstone played that evening at the Bluebird Theater in Denver was a similar type of bluegrass, varying in tempo and the musician singing it.

From here, the band returns to Minnesota and continues on with a nationwide tour. If you haven’t heard Pert Near Sandstone, start with “Solid Gone” thank me later. These boys are a mix of the old and new school, which makes them classic. Grab yo kids, grab you wife and get out to see Pert Near Sandstone. Oh, and don’t forget your dancing shoes. Whatever dancing shoes are.

Written by Allen Bryne

OurVinyl | Contributor

Pert Near Sandstone Winter/Spring Tour:


Mar 29                                   First Avenue                                                               Minneapolis, MN

Apr 05                                   Wicked Moose                                                             Rochester, MN

Apr 06                                   Bluegrass and Roots Festival                                   River Falls, WI

Apr 18                                   The Aquarium                                                              Fargo, ND

Apr 19                                   The Filling Station                                                      Bozeman, MT

Apr 20                                   The Top Hat                                                                Missoula, MT

Apr 24                                   City Winery                                                                  Chicago, IL

Apr 25                                   High Noon Saloon                                                      Madison, WI

Apr 26                                   Wooly’s                                                                         Des Moines, IA

Jun 15                                   Big Top Chautqua                                                       Bayfield, WI

Jul 05                                    Nippersink Festival                                                    Spring Grove, IL

Aug 09                                  MN Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival                         Richmond, MN